Yesterday saw the Champions League Group-Stage draw, an nervy few minutes for all the clubs involved who anticipate whether their fate lies in Europe or not.
England were represented this year by Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester City – four sides who all have potential to do well in the competition. The only big name who didn’t make the cut, were Manchester United after their torrid season last term.
As for the draw itself; here is what it looked like –
Group A – Atletico Madrid, Juventus, Olympiakos, Malmo
Group B – Real Madrid,F.C. Basel, Liverpool, Ludogorets Razgrad
Group C – Benfica, Zenit St Petersburg, Bayer Leverkusen, Monaco
Group D – Arsenal, Borussia Dortmund, Galatasaray, Anderlecht
Group E – Bayern Munich, Manchester City, CSKA Moscow, Roma
Group F – Barcelona, PSG, Ajax, Apoel Nicosia
Group G – Chelsea, Schalke, Sporting Lisbon, Maribor
Group H – Porto, Shakthar Donetsk, Athletic Bilbao, BATE Borisov
A variety of groups with some tough sides competing, Liverpool manager, Brendan Rodgers commented on his sides draw, “To be back in it again, no matter who we were going to play, it was always going to be exciting. But to have Real Madrid in your group, the champions last season, is going to be special.”
Manchester City, arguably have the toughest group on paper and Manchester City’s director of football Txiki Begiristain said: “I think this is the toughest group. Last season Bayern were first, we were second and we also played CSKA, but the fourth one was very tough, a very strong team in Roma. All the clubs try to play good football.”
Meanwhile, Arsenal’s club secretary David Miles said: “We know Borussia Dortmund well of course, and we are looking forward to it and hopefully can progress through this group – with the pre-requisite being to aim to finish top of the group.”
Finally, Chelsea club secretary David Barnard said, “Jose Mourinho texted me to say he was happy. Would you rather be in the groups with the other English clubs? You have got to be happy with that.”
What promises to be an exciting competition, many will be hoping they can progress through the rounds, fend off the big teams and go all the way. Sounds easy – how they wish.
The Champions League is back.